Have you done an interview on Zoom or Skype and felt like it could have gone a lot better?
Or are you getting ready to be interviewed using video conference call technology and want to know how to prepare?
If you answered yes, then keep reading this list of tips for a great Skype or Zoom interview!
I stared working from home a couple years before what I now lovingly refer to as the Worlds Largest Work from Home Experiment in 2020.
And like you have probably found, I was using my webcam, Skype, Zoom and virtual video technology much more than I did in a traditional office setting.
From job interviews, to virtual client meetings and virtual networking opportunities, not to mention virtual co-working and Facebook Lives, it feels like most of the work day takes place in front of a webcam now.
And, as embarrassing as it is to admit, the first Zoom interview I did a couple of years ago was awful!
It felt like one of the worst interviews I’d ever had.
After my disastrous Zoom interview, I knew I needed to master Zoom call videos.
I spoke with a head hunter colleague about his advice for successful virtual interviews. I asked him A LOT of questions.
And now I’m sharing his Zoom call interview tips with you – plus some of my own lessons learned.
I’ve put together the following list of tips for a great Zoom or Skype interview so you will be more prepared to win that job or contract!
(Pro Tip: This list of virtual interview tips works for GoToMeeing, WebEx and Teams too!)
5 Tips for a Great Skype Interview
Use the following five tips for a great Zoom or Skype interview. Walk away from your video interview call feeling successful!
1. Know Where to Look
One of the most difficult things about a Zoom or Skype video conference call interview is knowing where to look.
If you look at the person you are talking to (or yourself on the screen) then the camera probably won’t capture your eye contact for the interviewer.
But if you look into the camera then you don’t get the advantage of seeing the body language or facial reactions of the interviewer.
So what should you do?
The headhunter I spoke with recommends the second option.
He recommends looking into the camera when you are talking.
He offered the advice to pretend you are doing a phone interview while you are speaking since in that scenario you wouldn’t see them either.
The head hunter also told me me advises his clients to look at the screen for cues about how the interview is going while the interviewer is speaking.
2. Set up a Professional Background
The goal of all interviewers is to find a reason to cut you from consideration.
Don’t let what the interviewer sees in the background cause them to not see your skills and talents.
If you will be doing the interview from your home office make sure the wall or bookshelf they will see behind you is decorated appropriately.
If you don’t have a home office, and don’t want to use a virtual background, set up an area in your home with a professional background for Skype or Zoom call interviews.
To create a professional background
- Find a blank wall in your home that you can put a chair and a small table in front of.
- Buy a few affordable downloadable prints on Etsy or make your own in Canva.
- Frame the prints in frames from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (those always seem to be on sale!)
- Then hang the prints with command strips so you don’t have to worry about holes in your walls.
Curious about lighting and how to turn your background into a great conversation topic?
Give a listen to this podcast by Julie Brown, This Shit Work: 5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Online Meetings. Her tips are great for zoom meetings or interviews too!
3. Dress for Success
The old adage dress for the job you want applies to Zoom and Skype interviews too.
Sure, no one will know if you are wearing pajama or yoga pants on the bottom.
I strongly encourage you to dress professionally during Zoom interviews the same as you would if you were meeting at someone’s office.
Set yourself up for success by dressing in clothes that make you feel like an adult.
Present yourself professionally.
Wash and style your hair, put on a little makeup and small earrings.
If you are totally unsure about what to wear you can check out my recommendations about what to wear when you work at home.
4. Ask the Interviewer These Questions
Just because you are the one being interviewed doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions too.
Ask relevant questions to show the person conducting the interview that you took the time to do your pre-interview research.
Part of a job interview is to determine how well you would be able to work with each other and the existing team.
Show the person on the other side of the camera your virtual conversation skills.
One of my favorite questions to ask the person interviewing you is
- What skills or previous experience do you think are most important for the person that is selected for this contract or position.
This question allows you to tailor your follow-up answer to show that YOU are that person.
Or, if what they value most is something you do not enjoy doing it gives you an opportunity to decide if this is a contract or job that you really want to accept.
The same as it can get awkward during an in-person interview if a personal connection is missing, that can happen during a Skype or Zoom interview too.
- Prepare questions that highlight your skills.
- Give the interviewer an opportunity to want to continue to get to know you
- Ask questions that show why you are the right candidate for the job.
5. Practice Practice Practice
And finally, practice using your webcam and make sure the video conference call app is working.
An easy and clever way to practice talking to the webcam on your computer is to make a secret free Facebook Group.
- You can do as many Facebook Lives practice interviews as you want. No one else can see them!
- If you decide you do want feedback or an audience invite someone you trust to your Facebook Group to evaluate your FB Live.
Before your job interview its important to also practice logging into the Skype or Zoom app.
Whoever the video conference call provider is make sure you have downloaded their app or any updates to their apps prior to your interview.
- You can Skype or Zoom with a friend or to make sure it works.
- You can even do try video calling your spouse from another room in your house.
While the video connection is live, ask your practice partner what they can see in the background. Make sure it’s not a pile of laundry or dirty kitchen dishes!
With virtual interviews you can have a cheat sheet of notes and questions to refer to during the call that your interviewer can’t see.
Practice using your notes to ask some of the questions you prepared while looking into the camera.
Practice your interview ahead of time and make yourself a list of any necessary reminders so you won’t forget anything important during your interview.
Using the five tips for a great Zoom interview above you can set yourself up for a successful virtual interview.
Look into the video camera so that the interviewer has eye contact with you and prepare questions for great back and forth conversation.
Make sure that when the webcam is turned on both you and the background it sees look professional.
Most importantly practice using your webcam and the Skype, Zoom or interview app before your interview.
And don’t forget to send a thank you note or email after your interview!